HMB Soft in France is in an advanced state of development. The national team of this country has taken part in the HMB Soft World Championship among schools and clubs. In particular, in 2019 in Riga, French athletes showed very technical and promising fights.
HMBIA News sought to learn more details about HMB Soft discipline in one of the French clubs, and is ready to tell you all their secrets. Guillaume Andrieux, the main trainer of the Les Ecuyers du Marchidial club, which is located in Champeix, Auvergne (France) told us a lot of interesting things about the training process for kids.
“We have 4 age groups : the “babies” (3-6 y.o.), children (7-10 y.o.), teens (11-15 y.o.) and adults (+16 y.o.). Unfortunately, we don’t have many girls : 50 male fighters for only 5 female fighters. We really have difficulties attracting girls to soft fighting.
The youngest fighters group have 1 hour training per week, the oldest fighters group up to 4 hours per week. There are around 10 fighters present in each group and training. So we also have a special slot for specific training with a small number of fighters from the competition group.
Every fighter practices all the weapons of their age”, said Guillaume Andrieux.
Athletes of the club took part in the HMB Soft World Championship since the first one. Their debut wasn’t successful. But the trainer and his fighters never planned to stop and soon the situation changed.
“In 2017, in Prague, we were discovering the HMB competition and my fighters didn’t succeed.
In 2018, in Riga, we had a 3rd place in 12-13 yo (fighter Tristan Assailly).
In 2019, in Riga, we had a world champion in 12-13 yo (fighter Lukas Maffre).
I note the great development of the Championship. The last edition was really great, with two days of competition. And, of course, it’s always a pleasure to meet our friends from other clubs and other countries”, said Mr. Andrieux.
As we can see, the patience, determination, and talent of the coach and his wards have paid off and a triumph has come to them! However, in the Les Ecuyers du Marchidial school they pay attention not only to training, but to education as well.
Guillaume told us that they have a small re-enactment activity (late 14th century) that allows young members of the club to learn about history of this period, and how to talk about history to visitors.
The training usually takes place in the gymnasium, but young athletes often present during weekends outside the gymnasium to lead some public initiation during festivals and smaller city events. According to the trainer, that’s important for the club. It helps people discover the discipline, recruit new potential athletes, and earn money for the club. Also summer training in July and August are held outside.
The 2020 lockdown certainly affected the development of the discipline and the training process. However, this is not a reason to despair. The guys found the opportunity to train and communicate.
“In France, we had a lockdown with little possibilities to go outside our houses, but also long periods where contact sports were forbidden, and long periods where the gymnasium was closed.
During “hard” lockdown, we organized two Zoom sessions every week to train together in physical workout and another Zoom session about medieval history where we invite people to talk about different subjects. We did all we could to never put our club to sleep. And we succeeded.
Before Covid, we were working on the project of a HMB Soft competition in France, near Paris. I hope we’ll be able to realize it soon”.
It is worth noting that Les Ecuyers du Marchidial has long been not just a club, but a real sports community. There are traditions and small holidays here.
“When we could go outside together but with the gymnasium closed, we organized during Saturday afternoon or Sunday different outside activities: winter activities like snowshoe hike, snow toboggan outing, cultural visits, soft archery fighting in the woods…
Of course, people make friends thanks to the club. As we manage rare sport activities, we have members coming from a large zone around our city. The local kids know each other from school but the other kids make friends during training sessions and other activities. Birthday parties often gather numerous club members!”
It is really encouraging that things are going so well here with the development of the HMB Soft discipline. We thank Guillaume Andrieux for the conversation and wish him and his team many worthy opponents, challenging tournaments and new victories.